Let’s start by reading 1 John 2:18-20, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”

The Apostle John begins this chapter speaking in a fatherly manner to his readers.  In verse 1, he begins, “My little children, these things write I unto you…”  Here, the term ‘little children’ speaks of one who is a new convert to Christianity…a babe in Christ.  In this chapter, he also addresses the ‘fathers’ and the ‘young men’, titles which speak of growth in Christian knowledge and experience (verses 13-14).  However, in verse 18, when John addresses the ‘young children’ it is a different Greek word, denoting ‘one that had been born’, so it applies to all believers…little children, young men, and fathers!

In verse 18, John warns against ‘antichrist’ and speaks of ‘many antichrists’.  The word ‘antichrist’ speaks of one who stands in opposition to the Christ, and we learn that there are many antichrists in the day of John and certainly they exist in great number today.  These are those who come in among the true believers and draw men after themselves.  They give the impression that they are followers of Christ, but in truth, they are against Him.  The Lord speaks of such men in Mark 13:22, “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”  We see that their desire is to ‘seduce’ (lead astray) others.

In verse 19, we are told that “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us…”  These false teachers, when they did not develop a following would leave the company of true believers because they were not truly Christians…they were apostates.  The Lord Jesus tells us of a future day when many of these false prophets will appear before Him.  He says in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  2 Timothy 2:19 assures us that, “The Lord knoweth them that are his.”  He knows who is truly a believer and who is not.

However, in verse 20, John assures the true believers that they are not like those antichrists who do not last in the Christian profession.  Verse 20 speaks emphatically to the true Christians.  “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”  The word ‘unction’ is the same Greek word that is translated ‘anointing’ in verse 27.  All true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are anointed or endowed with the Holy Spirit.  We are His!  It is to those that John gives assurance.  John goes on to say, “Ye know all things.”  This certainly cannot mean that true believers are omniscient, or have perfect knowledge…knowing everything.  We know from our own experiences that this is not true.  But, we do know how to detect a false prophet, a false teacher, an antichrist.  We know the truth of the Gospel.  We know what it means to put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  We understand that Christ, is the Son of God and God the Son.  With that knowledge, we can identify antichrists which are around us.  The description of the antichrist is given to us in 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 7.  It is the one who denies the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He denies that Jesus is the Christ, or the sent One who is ‘God manifest in the flesh.’ (1 Timothy 3:16)  (219.10)